Drinks companies in £1.4 billion merger deal

Drinks brands Robinsons squash and Irn-Bru are to be poured into the same company after their makers unveiled a £1.4 billion merger deal. Britvic, which started in Chelmsford and is now based in Hertfordshire, is joining with AG Barr.

The companies said the proposed tie-up will create one of Europe's leading soft drinks firms with annual sales of more than £1.5 billion. The merger will come at the expense of up to 500 jobs with a forecast reduction of between 8% and 12% in the combined headcount of just over 4,000 people.

Britvic, whose brands include Robinsons, Fruit Shoot, R Whites and Tango, has around 3,300 staff. AG Barr, which dates back to 1875 and also makes Tizer and Rubicon, has just under 1,000 employees.